A brand new pedestrian walkway connecting Greene County and Columbia County is in the works, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. A feasibility study for the Hudson River SkyWalk, which would connect two of the Hudson River’s popular tourist destinations—the Olana State Historic Site in Greenport and Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill—has been initiated thanks to a $124,000 grant awarded by the Department of State through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
The grant, part of the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative, was awarded to Greene County last December from the NYS Consolidated Funding Application. The money will be used to develop a design, as well as fund the marketing and economic impact studies needed to push the project on to the next round of funding that will finance the SkyWalk’s construction. These funds will be used in concert with a current $5.4 million Bridge Authority project to improve the safety of the sidewalks and railings on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, to begin this summer.
Gov. Cuomo hopes to see the SkyWalk bring an increased flow of tourism by connecting the two homes of the Hudson Valley’s famous artists, Fredric Church and Thomas Cole. Once completed, the bridge will allow visitors to visit these two historical sites, where they can check out art exhibits, guided tours, and education programs all year round while also taking a stroll across the Hudson River.
The endeavor was inspired by the positive economic impact Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson has had on the surrounding regionby bringing in an estimated 500,000 visitors annually since 2009.